For Tony Terrell, Jared Welsh and Josh Bailey, bacon is so much more than a five letter-word, it’s the concept for the new business they’re launching: 1803 Bacon.
What began as a backyard barbecue progressed quickly into the start of the business. The friends and co-founders, who originally met through their work at Giant Eagle Market District, have a shared love for food and for Ohio, so what better way to pay tribute to their home state?
According to their mission statement, the company wants to “bring wonderfully flavored artisan bacon to Ohio”. For those not up on their local history, 1803 is the year Ohio became a state, which is a perfect branding option for the new business.
“We wanted [the business] to have a local theme around the Buckeyes or Columbus somehow, but didn’t want it to be overt or in your face,” says Welsh. Thus, 1803 Bacon was named.
The idea for the business began when Terrell — a chocolatier — and Welsh — a former barbecue pit boss — connected at Giant Eagle. Terrell currently works at the supermarket as a chef and Welsh just acquired his cicerone certification. The duo noticed the same standard foods on the shelves of the store, so they started ordering meat and experimenting with different flavors. Positive reviews from friends and family during regular backyard barbecues encouraged them to continue the evolution of the bacon business.
With the help of Bailey — an IT specialist by day and a bacon-lover by night — and assistant cook Matt Nelson, the friends conducted their first bacon experiment: porter brown sugar bacon. From there, a whole menu of flavors evolved.
“We specialize in various flavors from the spectrum of sweet to very savory,” says Bailey. “We’ve been working on 15 flavors, all of them very unique and all handcrafted — works of art, really.”
Whether you’re an Indian food lover, or enjoy a spicy Bloody Mary, 1803 Bacon has a unique flavor on their menu for you. The owners recommend the curry flavor, which features a light cinnamon taste combined with a spicy kick. Other favorites include the maple espresso and the seasonal apple moonshine bacon, smoked with apple wood.
“Everybody’s palate is different,” says Terrell. “So that’s the fun thing about this. Everybody’s used to what bacon is supposed to taste like, and we just want to put a twist on it.”
Terrell keeps the menu interesting by combining unique ingredients with different types of smoking woods such as hickory, maple and walnut.
“The different flavors of bacon allow me a fun range to play with recipes,” he says. “I can make a dessert spicy by using jalapeño bacon or I can make an appetizer sweet by using maple espresso bacon.”
Not only do the men of 1803 whip up incredible flavors, but they also try to source all their ingredients locally, for the highest quality product.
“We try and keep an eye on what we’re getting, so we went and visited a farm and saw all of our hogs to make sure they’re happy, healthy and eating right,” explains Terrell.
Creating flavors with local ingredients has been a no-brainer for the co-owners, who currently keep shop at The Commissary. The Commissary offers a space for local growers and up-and-coming restaurateurs to rent space and launch their business while networking with others who have similar goals.
Eventually Welsh, Terrell and Bailey hope to open their own brick and mortar restaurant, featuring a menu of bacon and beer in the Columbus area. They’re also working to sell their bacon in retail outlets. The ten-year plan is to raise hogs on their very own farm.
1803 Bacon will be hosting an Autumn-themed Kickstarter dinner on October 30 from 7:00-10:00 pm at The Commissary to help fund their new business. Each course of the five-course meal will incorporate one of their signature bacon flavors. You can check out the full menu and purchase tickets HERE.
For more information, visit www.1803bacon.com.
This article was also featured on Columbus Underground.